Keeper Jack Bonham joined United on a half-season loan deal during pre-season and has made an immediate impact with saves at Fleetwood and Cambridge which helped his side to pick up vital victories.
We caught up with him to talk about the first two weeks of the campaign on Friday morning.
“I feel like I’ve settled in well,” he said. “Being honest, I probably wasn’t at the level I want to be at for the first couple of games, but I’m getting into it now. It’s nice to have three games under my belt and it was great to get our first win at Cambridge last Saturday.
“I’ve settled in really well and the lads have been great with me. Playing is the main thing and I’ve obviously really enjoyed that. In terms of performances, I’m very self critical - but I think you have to be, particularly as a goalkeeper.
“You have to look at games objectively so that you can see what you should have done better in each situation. If I can do that and learn from it I’ll be in a good place.
“The process we go through with Simon Tracey means you’re not just looking at errors, you’re looking at everything. If there was a different option that would have been better than the one chosen, we talk about it. It’s about progressing and the only way to do that is to be on top of your game as much as you can be.”
Speaking about the lead up to the penalty incident at Cambridge, where it appeared that former-Blue Jabo Ibehre had put an arm across him as he jumped to claim the ball, he said: “It was a foul but I understand that it’s tough for referees. They don’t always get to see how much contact there was.
“The manager spoke to me about it at half time, and when I looked back at it the next day I had to agree that it was a situation where I could have just punched it. If I’d done that it would have taken all of the doubt out of the equation.
“That’s one of those occasions where you listen to what people say, take it on board and learn from it.”
The flip side of the coin has been some of the excellent saves made to help United pick up some vital results.
“Not many people noticed that I’d got a touch to put the header onto the bar at Cambridge,” he told us. “It’s always nice when you keep the ball out of the net because that’s what you’re there to do. If people end up talking about it afterwards, that’s also good.
“The really pleasing thing is that I’ve played three games in quick succession. It’s a big learning curve for me and it has taken time for my body to get used to it, with the intensity of the training and the playing.
It does feel like I’m learning more with every day that goes by and the level of my performance has stepped up each time ...
“It’s a challenge but it’s one that’s really exciting. It does feel like I’m learning more with every day that goes by and the level of my performance has stepped up each time. As a team we’ve put the result of the first game behind us and we’ve really kicked on. Hopefully we’ll go on a roll now.
“The next step will be to get results for our home fans. Our aim has to be to make Brunton Park a fortress and to make it hard for teams to come here and play their game.”
And on the competition for places from Liverpool stopper Shamal George, he told us: “It definitely gives you a kick up the backside. It’s a situation I haven’t faced before because I’ve never been the number one.
“I’m enjoying it because it’s a completely different mindset when you have someone pushing you this hard. The good thing is that we’re passing the knowledge we have on to each other and I think that’s working well for both of us.”
Next up for United are the back-to-back home games against Cheltenham Town [Saturday, kick off 3pm] and Sunderland [Tuesday, kick off 7.45pm].
“Cup games like that are always nice but the league game comes first and that’s where our focus has to be,” he commented. “If we can get our first home win, that will be massive for us.
“It’ll be about putting in performances in both games and, if we do that, we’ll be giving ourselves a real chance.”
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